Monday, June 23, 2008

Human egg makes accidental debut on camera

Human egg makes accidental debut on camera
11 June 2008, New Scientist Print Edition By Linda Geddes

Look closely: this is history in the making. These are the clearest pictures ever taken of what is the starting point of every human life: ovulation occurring inside a woman's body. See the photos

"The release of the oocyte from the ovary is a crucial event in human reproduction," says Jacques Donnez at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Brussels, Belgium. "These pictures are clearly important to better understand the mechanism."

Observing ovulation in humans is extremely rare, and previous images have been fuzzy. Donnez captured the event by accident while preparing to carry out a partial hysterectomy on a 45-year-old woman. The release of an egg was considered a sudden, explosive event, but his pictures, to be published in Fertility and Sterility, show it taking place over a period of at least 15 minutes.

Shortly before the egg is released, enzymes break down the tissue in the mature follicle, a fluid-filled sac on the surface of the ovary that contains the egg. This prompts the formation of a reddish protrusion, and after a while a hole appears, from which the egg emerges, surrounded by support cells. It then enters a Fallopian tube, which carries it to the uterus.

While there are no immediate medical implications from the pictures, Darryl Russell, who researches reproductive health at the University of Adelaide in Australia, says they are remarkable: "In animals, even when we control hormone levels - allowing us to predict the time at which ovulation will occur - it is very rare to see it in progress."

Read more at: Human egg makes accidental debut on camera

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto killed by suicide bomber

Bhutto killed by suicide bomber

Pakistan has been plunged into turmoil after former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.

Britain joined international condemnation of the murder, which looks certain to cause the postponement of elections next month, something many hoped would pave the way for a return to full democracy.

Ms Bhutto was shot moments after leaving a rally of her opposition Pakistan People's Party in the city of Rawalpindi. The gunman then blew himself up.

There were immediate chaotic scenes outside the hospital where she died but calls for restraint from across the world.

Although the attack bore the hallmarks of Islamic extremists, the assassination sparked fury against the regime of President Pervez Musharraf.

Her party described Ms Bhutto as a "martyr". Her long-term political rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, described her as a "sister" and pledged to "take the revenge on the rulers".

In Britain, Foreign Secretary David Miliband spoke of deep shock and paid tribute to a leader he said "knew the risks" of her return from exile.

"My thoughts and sincere condolences go to Ms Bhutto's family at this terrible time, as well as to the families of all those who lost their lives in this senseless attack," Mr Miliband said.

"Benazir Bhutto showed in her words and actions a deep commitment to her country. She knew the risks of her return to campaign but was convinced that her country needed her. This is a time for restraint but also unity.

"All those committed to a stable future for Pakistan will condemn without qualification all violence perpetrated against innocent people. In targeting Benazir Bhutto extremist groups have in their sights all those committed to democratic processes in Pakistan. They cannot and must not succeed."

Breaking: Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack

Breaking: Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack
Jane Roh

Outraged supporters of Benazir Bhutto have taken to the streets following confirmation that the Pakistani opposition leader was assassinated today.

Bhutto had just spoken at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad, and was getting into a car when a gunman opened fire. The apparent assassin then blew himself up. There are conflicting reports on how she was killed. Some witnesses said she had been shot in the neck and chest, while a doctor at the hospital that treated her told the New York Times she had shrapnel wounds but would not confirm she had been directly shot.

At least 15 other people were also killed in the attack, according to various news reports. Bhutto, 54, had ended a self-imposed exile in October after reaching a power-sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf is wildly unpopular among Pakistan's Islamists and democratic reformists alike, but has been courted by Washington as a necessary ally in the war on terror.

"I found her to be a very, very brave woman with a clear vision for her own country [and] for Afghanistan," said Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who said he'd met with Bhutto earlier today. "We in Afghanistan condemn this cowardice and immense brutality in the strongest possible terms. She sacrificed her life for Pakistan and for the sake of this region."

Karzai has accused Musharraf of accomodating extremists and not clamping down hard enough on al-Qaida and Taliban fighters along their tumultuous shared border.

"Her murderers must be brought to justice and Pakistan must continue the path back to democracy and the rule of law," said Rudy Giuliani, the first presidential candidate to release a statement on the attack. "Her death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere -- whether in New York, London, Tel-Aviv or Rawalpindi -- is an enemy of freedom. We must redouble our efforts to win the terrorists’ war on us."

(President Bush made a brief statement condemning Bhutto's murder from his ranch in Crawford. We are waiting for the networks to air it.)

Bhutto had escaped an attempt on her life shortly after she returned to Pakistan on Oct. 18. That bombing, blamed on Islamic extremists, killed at least 126 and wounded 248.

Musharraf was accused of failing to provide sufficient security for Bhutto. The former prime minister, still incredibly popular in her Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had vowed on her return to protect her country from Islamic extremists and from Musharraf, whom she viewed as a dictator. The two engaged in a tug-of-war over when Musharraf would step down as head of the Pakistani military, which he finally did late last month but not before taking the extraordinary steps of suspending the constitution and imposing martial law.

Bhutto's assassination will undoubtedly exacerbate an already precarious situation in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and fellow Musharraf foe, may step into the void in time for the coming elections, but it is not clear how Musharraf hangs on to power without yet more extraconstitutional measures.

Because Pakistan is a nuclear-armed country within reach of al-Qaida and the Taliban, the ripple effects of this crisis are potentially quite serious. India, also a nuclear power and a rival, has reason for immediate concern if Pakistan destabilizes further. News of her death sent investors running toward gold, a safe-haven commodity.

The White House, which was already agonizing over its relationship with Musharraf, cannot risk chaos in Islamabad and will have to consider direct intervention.

"We will have to devote a lot of effort to make sure things don't" worsen in the region, said Sen. John McCain, speaking to supporters at a campaign stop.

Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador, called for Bush to break with Musharraf once and for all.

"President Bush should press Musharraf to step aside, and a broad-based coalition government, consisting of all the democratic parties, should be formed immediately. Until this happens, we should suspend military aid to the Pakistani government," Richardson said. "It is in the interests of the U.S. that there be a democratic Pakistan that relentlessly hunts down terrorists. Musharraf has failed, and his attempts to cling to power are destabilizing his country. He must go."

The Politicker has compiled more candidates' reactions, while AP has statements from world leaders.

Source: Breaking: Benazir Bhutto Killed In Attack article in the The Gate

Benazir Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack on Thursday, just two months after the former premier returned from exile for a political comeback. Bhutt, a two-time former prime minister, had jsut addressed a campaign rally for next month's parliamentary elections when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the venue, killing her and at least 10 other people.

Girl Okay After Screwdriver Goes Into Head

Girl Okay After Screwdriver Goes Into Head
A Minnesota family enjoyed a particularly merry Christmas this year, with their 2-year-old daughter home and relatively unharmed less than a week after she stabbed herself in the eye with a screwdriver.

Raw Video: Benazir Bhutto Dies In Suicide Blast

Raw Video: Benazir Bhutto Dies In Suicide Blast
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto dies after suicide attack. The former Prime minister had just left a rally where she was speaking.

Benazir Bhutto Killed In Blast

Benazir Bhutto Killed In Blast
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a suicide attack.